Saturday 1 July 2017

Mass O' Kyzt - Pondering Modes of Revenue

Over the past few days, I've been thinking (perhaps preemptively) about the mode by which I'll distribute Mass O' Kyzt. Of course, I'd love to make the game free with no caveats, but at some point I'll have to start pulling an income from game development since it's hopefully what I'll be doing for a living one day.

I've been considering a few methods of not spending my life in a cardboard box.

The first I'll discuss is the tried-and-true, plain and simple "buy the game" model. This method would probably be safe, and if I can get Mass O' Kyzt onto Steam I would hopefully be able to work at a net gain given enough time. Selling at somewhere between £2-5, I could make back the Steam Direct fee with only about 40 sales at the most.

I mean, if games like Abrams Tank can get even 10 sales, then at risk of sounding cocky I like my chances at returning that investment. However, the big problem with this is that it does gate people off playing my game entirely. Sure, it can be called naive to fight against the foundations of capitalism in a capitalist society, but the very idea of directly charging money for my art just rubs me the wrong way.

Perhaps it's an aversion to the sense of entitlement that seems to come with charging money to allow people to play my game. I'm happy beyond belief that anyone plays any game I've ever made- I hate the idea that I have to limit my audience for the sake of making a living.

Another option might be that of a "free to play" model. The biggest issue with this one is that I would have to re-design the game in order to actually make it work with Mass O' Kyzt. I could add some cosmetic bonuses to the game but honestly- there's no way that anyone would pay money to have a different poorly drawn sprite replace the goofy spaceman.

It would allow me to distribute my game for free which is definitely something that both myself and my kind viewers would be greatly in favour of, but it just doesn't fit. There's no real incentive for anyone to actually pay me money and at that point I might as well be packaging a "Donate" button with my game.

I could try a "Fee to pay" system, where the customer buys the game and then gets the privilege of giving me even more money... ha, no.

One of the most interesting (albeit risky) methods of revenue from my game would be to release the game totally for free to the public in exchange for being supported on a website such as Patreon. This could theoretically be the best of all worlds- I could distribute beta or in-dev copies of the game to give Patrons an advance view, and it gives me an easy avenue to distribute my source code to people who hopefully won't yell at me for it being rubbish.

This would mean that I don't have to live in a cardboard box, and I still don't have to gate off my games to anyone. Of course, the biggest problem with this method is that it's incredibly risky- I'd need a contingent of pretty dedicated (or impatient) fans which I don't see as particularly likely at my current level of popularity.

Failing all these, I could just distribute the game for free with no expectation of money. This would be great because I don't even have to worry about any of this, but I could be losing out on some vital experience that might prove to be useful when I leave full-time education and move on to dedicate 100% of my time to game development.

Who knows? I'll make a definite judgement call after I've got more than 10% of an actual product. As I said at the beginning of this post, worrying about this is very likely pre-emptive.

I don't like cliches, but this is a case where the viewer's input is actually very useful. Leave a comment detailing your thoughts and opinions on the matter since I honestly have no idea what I'm doing, ever.

Stay tuned for more posts related to the topic of Mass O' Kyzt, my state of perpetual uncertainty and unease, or game development in general. Thanks for reading!

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